dyanaprajna2011 wrote:But Buddhism, as taught by Shakyamuni, is not tied to any one culture. It goes where it's needed.
That's why it was able to spread from Persia to Japan and everywhere in between as some point or another.
Still, as an outsider don't expect people to hear you if you tell them their cultural practices are not Dharma. Eating like a Chinese aristocrat is no more conducive to liberation than eating with your hands off a banana leaf, so let people eat any which way they please. Why waste years and years of your life learning how to behave in polite society according to how others expect you to behave when you could be pursuing liberation?
This is one reason why I got turned off from Taiwanese Buddhism. They place so much emphasis on superficial etiquette and worry about the image they present to the world.
India is great though because people do what they want. If you want to eat with your hands, go for it. Chopsticks? Sure. Fork? That's fine, too. Watch some TV in the evening? Sure, chill out. Walk around in dirty robes? That's fine, too. A ragged yogi is highly respected.